As winter conditions approach, utilizing warmer weather and safer road conditions to prepare your vehicle is a good way to ensure you can safely get to your ski destinations and commute around snowy cities. Many areas experience winter ‘teases’ of early snowfall this time of year that may cause people to be unprepared. With weather patterns becoming more inconsistent as a whole, it’s important to set you and your vehicle up for success as soon as possible. The National Weather Services, Pocatello has a few tips to steer you in the right direction.
Have your car checked. Much like a physical, have your car checked for common issues like leaks and wears. Check the status of your battery and cooling system so you don’t find your car dead on a cold, snowy day. Replace windshield wipers and check the fluid to maintain visibility when driving in conditions.
Replace tires with snow tires. Although a more expensive endeavor of winter car safety, snow tires help maneuverability in the slick conditions of roads. Some areas allow studded tires past a certain date: check your local interstate laws for these dates.
Stock your car. When accidents, emergencies and getting stuck occurs, you’ll be thankful to have the supplies necessary to keep you on your way. Snow shovel and ice scrapers can help you simply leave your driveway in the morning while jumper cables and traction material to get out of a slippery situation can save you a tow. If worse comes to worst and you find yourself having to wait in your car, stocking with food and water (which can be important in avoiding hypothermia) and blankets can either keep safe or comfortable, depending on the severity of the situation. Emergency blankets are often available for 5-10$ and can be used to stock the car and frequently used bags.
Also keep in mind that many animals, such as feral cats, use the underbelly of cars as shelter and warmth during the winter season. Check under your car for animals before starting it to avoid damage to your car and death for the animal.
Finally, be careful of car theft when starting a vehicle to warm it then leaving it unattended. Not only does this render it vulnerable to “Warm-Up Theft- in some states it is illegal.
Winter driving prompts different considerations than other times of year- but if precautions are taken, the privilege of winter transportation can allow you access to prime snow and a beautiful ski season.